Being openly honest, I have tried to do this…. two or three times now however these sort of posts never make it past one or two categories, of course, if you are reading this now then I have managed to complete last years Best Of! This time I shall be compiling the entire article in one, dial-up unfriendly SUPER ARTICLE! The categories I shall be using for this article are:
- [A1] Best Playstation 3 Game
- [A2] Best XBox360 Game
- [A3] Best Nintendo Wii Game
- [A4] Best Playstation Portable Game
- [A5] Best Nintendo DS Game
- [A6] Best Multiplatform Game
- [B1] Best Racing Game
- [B2] Best RPG
- [B3] Best Fighting Game
- [B4] Best Puzzle Game
- [B5] Best “Shooting” Game
- [B6] Best Action Game
- [B7] Best Storytelling Game
- [B8] Best Rhythm Game
- [B9] Best Platformer
- [B10] Best “Horror” Game
- [B11] Best Sim Game
- [B12] Best DLC Content
- [B13] Best Online Game
- [B14] Sam’s Overall Biggest Disappointment of the Year
- [B15] Sam’s Game of the Year!
- [C1] Favourite Adult Male Character
- [C2] Favourite Adult Female Character
- [C3] Favourite Child Character
- [D1] Best Japanese Anime of 2010
- [D2] Best English Released Anime of 2010
- [E1] Favourite Continuing Series of 2010
- [E2] Favourite New Series of 2010
So what are you waiting for? Jump in for my reviews!
[A1] – Best Playstation 3 Game
Atelier Rorona: The Alchemist of Arland
I have always found that a good game requires a good mixture of elements and not heavily rely on any in particular. Atelier Rorona is a game that is different from all the previous Atelier titles on the PS2, it requires careful planning and strategy to get a decent ending. The game is all about going around a small village of Arland and the surrounding environments, collecting materials to synthesize equipment and items that you can use to complete missions. Whilst this sounds simple enough to start with, you are given a limited ingame time to complete required missions, whilst balancing other requirements such as relationships with characters, levelling up Rorona in the RPG system and completing quests for the villagers. Your reward? A successfully running business…. the punishment if you fail? Rorona’s workshop being converted into a factory and Rorona being forced to live in a cardboard box move elsewhere without her previous shop.
[A2] – Best Xbox 360 Game
Alan Wake was actually one of the only possible 2010 releases that I could place on this chart, since I only acquired an XBox360 this year, and most of the titles I purchased were a couple of years old, due to both cost effectiveness and my desire to obtain older games first, lest I never get them (and unlike the PS3, you cannot import them). However, this does not take any pride away from Alan Wake, who truly deserves the title of best XBox360 game. This game doubles as a storyline driven game, however offers enough worth as a shooter to make it feel that you are not just walking down pre-determined corridors. The fighting in this game is very Luigi’s Mansion-esque where you have to attack with light before your gun, however when you are getting attacked by shaded villagers with chainsaws with hundreds of shade ravens swooping at you, it does get pretty intense. The storyline is well done, however leaves the plot open unless you acquire the DLC.
[A3] – Best Nintendo Wii Game
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
As with the XBox360, I do not think that the Wii offered as much of an interesting selection as previous years and most of my collection ended up being older games from previous years that I just happened to acquire. This game is a bittersweet game about a young boy named Seto, who is supposedly “the last human on earth”, and unlike other post-apocalyptic games such as Fallout, is not due to a nuclear fallout, but due to a “disappearance” of every other human in the world. He journeys to a lit tower in the distance, and on his quest, he meets a mysterious human girl who he chases after. During his journey, he meets a number of odd acquaintances such as a portable computer called Personal Frame (Who seems to have a romantic attraction to him), a mysterious boy named Crow and a ghost named Sai. None of the stories are particularly happy, and the game relies on the human drama aspect of the storyline.
[A4] – Best PlayStation Portable Game
Persona 3 Portable
I am pretty sure that anyone who knows me could tell I would choose this title for my top PSP game for 2010. The Shin Megami Tensei series is one of my favorite game series and with the Persona spin-off’s being my games of choice. If there was Persona 4 Portable, then it would have taken this position, however this game, whilst not having as good graphics as the PS2 version which allowed a greater level of free-roaming, the game does well considering the overall size of a UMD disk. The story involves a group of school students who secretly protect their town at night from the beings that exist in Tartarus, a gigantic tower that appears in the place of their school when the clock strikes midnight, during a secret 25th hour. This game focuses on RPG gameplay, however also utilizes a demon management system similar to Pokemon (Except you fuse demons together to make new ones) and social links, which is a sort of visual novel gameplay that allows you to power up your demons even further.
[A5] – Best Nintendo DS Game
Sands of Destruction
This was one of those impulse buys that I purchased in a small Melbourne gaming shop called Dungeon Crawl. Same as the Wii and XBox360, there hasnt been that great a selection this year as previous years, so I am digging at the bottom of the barrel as this is actually one of two 2010 DS games I have purchased this year. The game is decent through, is based off an anime series and has some relatively good music to go with it. Gameplay is the normal RPG system that uses battle order and a limited number of party members to battle. As it has been a slow year, and sadly with the Nintendo 3DS coming out which may cause another year of remakes… I should end on a positive note and say that I could choose any game to go here, it would without a doubt be Devil Survivor.
[A6] – Best Multiplatformer Game
I was tossing up between Resonance of Fate and Bayonetta, however I decided that Bayonetta offered more to a wider demographic, and unlike RoF, I actually managed to finish it multiple times. Bayonetta is from the same producer as Devil May Cry…. so as you can expect, there will be violence, demons, angels and a whole lot of BULLETS! This game is all about making the bad look so good, and Bayonetta as a character certainly doesn’t disappoint. Sure there is the question of how they came up with the idea of having someone with legs being the most prevalent part of the body, however you soon forget such questions such as that when you get into the gameplay. The gameplay is fast-paced, visually appealing and bloody! Is there an annoying angel in the way? Summon a wooden horse to split them into two! Surrounded by monsters? Breakdance and shoot your guns with hands and feet!
[B1] – Best Racing Game
LittleBigPlanet has been an overall successful game, however platforming gaming wasn’t enough, so United Front Games developed this masterpiece known as ModNation Racers. This is the racing game for those that like customizing, where everything from the driver, kart and track can be built from scratch by you! At the start you obviously have very little and start your career as a racer named Tag, where you customise him and race him around championship tracks which are more creative then any other karting game I have seen. This is aided by the two “at-each-others-throats” commentators Biff and Gary. The online component is even better! Up to 12 players can race each other on the GP Tracks and a players custom made tracks which can get quite brutal at times, as one mistake can change that 30 second lead into being in last place.
[B2] – Best Role Playing Game
After a seemingly endless stream of lackluster RPG’s during the year, Trinity Universe came in, and whilst it may not be the most technologically advanced RPG game that has been released, there was a lot of potential that was met in the game. The thing about games from Compile Heart is that whilst they are not graphically gifted, they make up for a lot of added gameplay bonuses, which they did for this game such as managraphics, synthesis system, multiple storylines and many more features. The storyline is set over two characters, Kanata and Riz, each with three common characters and a number of storyline unique characters. It is simply an RPG that you don’t have to think much about to understand, instead offering a more relaxed RPG experience.
[B3] – Best Fighting Game
Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Ougon Musou Kyoku
This may be considered cheating considering that this game was released on the 31st of December 2010, however I found last year to be pretty bland in terms of good fighting games, therefore leaving me with no choice but to choose this game, that once you get past the few issues such as no keyboard mapping (Most of which I believe have been fixed in a recent patch), this is actually a really fun fighting game on the PC if you are into the Umineko series (Me! Me!). The game doesnt have the entire cast of Umineko sadly, however has most of the witch characters alongside a few others such as Battler, Shannon and Kanon. It also has a story mode that I personally haven’t followed, but it does offer some nice artwork. Also, there is Sakutarou… isnt that enough to warrant a prize?
[B4] – Best Puzzle Game
I am in no way, shape, or form interested in most puzzle games. Most of them seem to just be downloaded games that seem to use the same handful of rules and usually the same in appearance to another dozen versions of the game. 2010 showed some interesting alterations such as Space Invaders Infinity Gene which took the popular game Space Invaders and actually did something different with it. However, the puzzle game of the year award goes to the much more family friendly game, Super Scribblenauts. By using nouns and adjectives, you have to complete a number of levels. Of course, there are easy ways to complete a level, but why not come up with a way to implement an elephant and a needle into the level? There are countless numbers of words that can be used in this game… some more effective then others, so it is not like you would be bored playing this game for a while. See over reactive parents? Gaming CAN be educational!!!!
[B5] – Best Shooting Game
Resonance of Fate
Whilst this game isn’t a FPS game like most “Shooting” games, it does have a lot more guns and a lot more bullets shot in the first few chapters then you would ever shoot in a FPS. This game is all about defying gravity, taking down heavy machinery and dressing up your three characters in a variety of clothes and accessories to ensure they look epic during the battles you will be facing. The game utilizes a sort of RPG fighting system that allows the characters to run around the field and shoot enemies multiple times. My only question is….. do machine guns not damage anyone in real life without the use of a pistol?
[B6] – Best Action Game
Yakuza 3 is an open world game that attempts to take the viewer into the world of the Yakuza. It follows Kazuma, an ex-Yakuza who finally thought he could give it all up after Yakuza 2 and moved to Okinawa to take care of an orphanage, however, trouble starts up again when there is a plan to acquire the land his orphanage is based on. The primary focus of this game is open world and battles, where you can stroll the cities of the game and battle anyone from a punk to another Yakuza group using fists, swords, guns and street signs. If you get bored with this, bowling, karaoke and and arcade games are available around both towns.
[B7] – Best Storytelling Game
Heavy Rain isnt as much a game as it is interactive storytelling. It is a murder mystery game where a number of young children are found dead with an origami piece appearing on their body. It follows four people, a father, a journalist, a private detective and an FBI Agent with gadgets to get to the bottom of it, all in the name of saving Ethan Mars’s son….. Shawn. The gameplay is simply using the controller to imitate the characters movements through the control stick and buttons. If you want more realism, the game is Playstation Move compatable, so you can pretend like you are slicing off your own finger (Woops… spoilers….)
[B8] – Best Rhythm Game
DJ Max Series
A number of DJ Max games were released last year such as DJ Max Hot Tunes and DJ Max 3, both on the Playstation Portable. I would have liked to have played DDR on the PS3, however that game isnt coming out till March, so until then, DJ Max is definitely covering the waiting period. Each game utilizes the control pad and buttons to play certain notes in a song and whilst the beginners mode is easy, it soon increases in difficulty through the number of notes and number of buttons you have to use, so the game doesn’t get old fast. The number of tracks in each game is also sufficient, and has a variety of genres and lyrical/instrumental songs.
[B9] – Best Platformer
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Even I cannot deny that even in its 25th Year, Nintendo has still managed to keep most renown platforming series, Super Mario going strong whilst most game series would have died out after a quarter of a century. Super Mario Galaxy, whilst not my favorite installment in the series, is a game that needs to be commended on just how much content they have packed into it. The game features something along the lines of 250ish stars and a number of frustrating levels, such as one where you are given a very restrictive time limit to finish a number of well loved (?) bosses from Mario Galaxy 1, which I spent a whole day trying to do.
[B10] – Best Horror Game
Dead Rising 2
Dead Rising 2 is one of those sequels where the original title pisses you off so much you cannot play it, but they make enough changes so that it is enjoyable by the time the second game is released. Whilst the original game had very iffy AI, a blandish shopping mall and you gained experience points through taking photographs, this game allows you to strap chainsaws to bats, beer to hats and mops to cats (The last one is not true), the AI is improved and the characters are much more likable. Of course, there are plenty of zombies to smash around in the 72 ingame time limit, but each moment is used up very well by surviving the horrors and mystery behind the shopping mall that has been plagued by zombies, and rescuing innocents such as yourself from the tragic fate that awaits you. Also has a really interesting online multiplayer that makes you spill zombie juice!
[B11] – Best Simulation Game
Atelier Rorona – The Alchemist of Arland-
What is there that does not make this a perfect sim game? Running an alchemy shop is really well done in this game and there is no need to waste time selling prices, instead, you just need to pop over to the front desk of the castle and accept and complete requests from the villagers. As well, you are required to complete a seasonly task to ensure that you can keep the shop from being turned into factories. The exploration system works well in this game, and it both enabled ample fighting time alongside and enough opportunities to collect items. The one issue is that time seems to flow very very fast ingame, and you can use up half your seasonly time-frame in one exploration.
[B12] – Best DLC Content
Alan Wake – The Signal / The Writer
A lot of the DLC content this year has been pretty ‘blegh’ with a vast majority of them for my games being extra powerups, extra level tools and extra character designs. However, only one DLC stood out above the rest, and that was the two part DLC content of…. Alan Wake. The Signal and The Writer follow onto the end of the Alan Wake story and is there to both give the story some sort of closing and path the way for a sequel. The levels take part in the Dark Place and Alan is forced to fight himself in order to get past the attacks of himself, his books and his own illusions. The Signal was free to all of those who bought the Collections Edition (I did), and for those who didnt, and those who wanted to buy “The Writer”, it is 560 Microsoft Points per DLC.
[B13] – Best Online Game
White Knight Chronicles
Let me be perfectly clear from the start… the single player mode of this game was average at best, however the online “Geonet” system more then made up for the flaws of the game. The online interface takes place on a mock web-browser where you have the boards, blogging and all that stuff which you may or may not use. The actual game however takes place in a persons Georama, a world that a player can create using materials and money earned from single and online player modes. Whilst originally the georamas I saw were pretty bland, as the average player level rose, the levels became a lot more complex and rather creative. Actual playing the online missions are varied, and take place on the same levels as the single player mode, but offer a variety of quests which range from “Go Here” to “Collect X Y, and Z” to “Defeat X Golem”. Personally, this was more fun then any FPS game I have played online.
[B14] – Sam’s Overall Disappointment for the Year
Final Fantasy XIII
This game is visually appealing, however that is all I can give to it. The storyline is a complete and utter mess and whilst it may be interesting if you spent hours re-reading it…. you are much better off pretending like you understand what the hell is going on. Musically, the voice acting is good (Fang’s voice actor is by far the best!!!) and the music is overall good, however they added lyrics to the chocobo song…. ruining any potential that the actual lyrics could be this. Forgetting about this, the gameplay is by far the worst out of any Final Fantasy game, the battle system is tarnished with an Auto Battle system, where you just have to spam auto and let the game do the rest. Considering that they have announced XIII-2, I have serious doubts whether all these negative comments made them realize that they should be working on oh say….. Final Fantasy XIII Versus or Kingdom Hearts 3….
[B15] – Sam’s Overall Top Game of 2010!
I bet you are all surprised I picked this one eh? Alan Wake is the perfect example of a game that balances storyline and gameplay and actually leaves not a dull moment in either. Sure they might have liked NOT to use a forest at one point, but I am not complaining… it is by far the most intriguing game I have played… and it isnt even an RPG! I actually have a lot of Alan Wake books and stuff such as the books that came in the collectors (My only ever Collectors Edition of a console game by the way) and a novelized version of the game.
[C1] – Favourite Adult Male Character
Vashyron - Resonance of Fate
Vashyron is one of those characters that, whilst acting seriously, has “the thing” with big busted women (Including a little dance to go with it) and likes making sarcastic remarks about the other two members of his team. Despite that, he is definately a father like figure for both of them…. His character is the least used of the three in my Resonance of Fate party, however, his lines such as “Don’t you make passes at girls who kick asses” get a chuckle the first few times you hear it, and his storyline is most probably the most interesting out of everyones.
[C2] – Favourite Adult Female Character
Bayonetta – Self-titled Game
Bayonetta would definately be my favourite character as she breaks so many stereotypes for female characters in games. Usually games seem to have a male role, usually having the female characters as magic users who are generally more timid and frail, or completely the opposite where they are insane lunatics who like to beat the crap out of certain small blue penguins. Instead Bayonetta is an overly sexualised woman who wears her hair as her clothing and can use it to attack raging demons and angels alike… need I say much more? Also using her to fight alongside the track “Fly me to the Moon” is a really enjoyable thing to do….
[C3] – Favourite Child Character
Miyu – Trinity Universe
Miyu is one of those characters that really make you feel like you want to protect her. She is a very skilled managraphic artist who works at a rate set by… the customer, so you can pay highly for a few times, unlock her character and trophy, and then pay her one gold for any further managraphic work. Despite this, she is the only optional character which I used in my battle party due to her high magic skill, in contrast to the other characters I used which all seemed to be attack based. She was a guest designer character in the game from Yoshihiko Imaizumi.
[D1] – Best (Japanese Dubbed) Anime of 2010
Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
Over the last few years, the school-life style of anime has been done to death, however all it takes is one series to kick off the whole boom for the school-life to appear new and refreshing, and this is the series that has done it. The series is about a school where students are placed in classrooms determined by their rank and they can move up or down by using summoned beings that are as strong as their overall grade. This is the story of how the lowest class intends on taking down the top class! The series is interesting as whilst the whole purpose of the story is these summoned beings, every episode seems new and refreshing with some new interesting way of using the beings. In episodes where they are not crucial, the characters personalities still make the episodes interesting to watch.
[D2] – Best (English Dubbed) Anime of 2010
Clannad is another school of life series brought to you by the creative minds of KEY/VisualArts and released by Siren Visual in Australia. The series is a mixture of serious and comedic sections and whilst they arent as clearly defined in the visual novel series, each character has an arc which investigates them in more detail. Unlike most school-life novels that rely on some quirk, this series pretty much relies on the normal everyday life of high school students to bring across the story well… with an added love octagon and a few other bits and pieces.
[E1] Best Continuing Manga Series of 2010
With the Light
As the last review I posted up was the second volume of this… I will not waste too much time on this, however this title is a series that I feel has the ability to touch the hearts of so many people and make them look at people with disabilities in a positive light instead of just being annoyances. This book shows both the good times and the depressing times of the family, and goes to show that more needs to be done to ensure that families with disabled children can live as normal a life as anyone else. This title is published by Yen Press in English.
[E2] – Best New Manga Series of 2010
Bunny Drop is similar to Aishiteruze Baby, where a male is forced to adopt a younger relative, in this case, his younger aunt, who is deemed the secret lovechild of his grandfather. This is Daikichi’s story of how he adapted to living with Rin, and the sacrifices he makes for her to ensure that she can have a regular upbringing, whilst tracking down other things such as “Who is the mother?”. The artwork isnt really cute but it does have its own charm. This title is published by Yen Press in English.
AND DONE! This is my top games, animes and mangas for 2010! May 2011 provide many more exciting otaku products that can be reviewed on this blog!